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  Наименование CD :
   An Introduction To Junior Wells

Год издания : 2006

Компания звукозаписи : Fuel

Музыкальный стиль : Regional Blues, Electric Chicago Blues, Electric Harmonica Blues, Chicago Blues

Время звучания : 54:37

Код CD : 302 061 547 2

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Blues (Man Voice)      

Essentially, An Introduction to Junior Wells is an abbreviated version of the Fuel 2000 release Calling All Blues. This material predates Hoodoo Man Blues, the landmark 1965 electric Chicago blues album on Delmark with tunes recorded between 1957 and 1961. Of the 14 cuts, nine were originally issued on Chief, with one track, "Little by Little," released on Profile. The remaining bonus tracks are unspecified live versions of "Help Me," "Look Over Yonder," "Messin' with the Kid," and "I Can't Help Myself." All of this material is rock-solid and should definitely exist in your collection between Blues Hit Big Town and Hoodoo Man Blues.

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

The postwar Chicago blues scene was blessed with an incomparable lineup of harmonica artisans whose heavily amplified wails escorted the genre into fresh and exciting environs. Led by the incomparable Little Walter, whose stratospheric, jazz-influenced harp excursions set an impossibly lofty standard for his many disciples to emulate, their legendary ranks also included the spectacular Big Walter Horton, Snooky Pryor, James Cotton, and Billy Boy Arnold.

But Junior Wells alone remained thoroughly contemporary, first with the commercially potent sides he waxed for Mel London's Profile and Chief labels during the late '50s and early '60s, and later in the decade with his funky "Up In Heah" and "You're Tuff Enough." In the process, he captured an entirely different demographic taken with his sizzling soul grooves and cocksure onstage swagger (he wasn't known as the "Godfather of the Blues" for nothing). Despite the outraged moans of purists, Junior's blues credentials remained intact; he routinely summoned pungent echoes of the two Sonny Boys no matter how funky his musical backdrop.

"We had a lot of people that say one thing, that I had got away from the blues, I was going rock and roll, or whatever you wanna call it," responded Junior, displaying a mere trace of indignation, in 1980. "But I feel like one thing: if I should sing 'Up In Heah' and bring it down and sing it slow, what would they call it then?'"

Born Amos Blackmore (or Blakemore) on December 9, 1934 in either Memphis or West Memphis, Ark., his first years were spent on his folks' Arkansas farm. A future blues star lived just across the road. "A friend of mine, his name was Junior Parker," said Wells. "We was raised up together, and he was playing the harmonica. I said to myself, if he could do it, I could too.

"I came to Chicago in 1941. My mother, she was already in Chicago," he said. "Because her and my father, they didn't see eye to eye on the thing, and she left and come to Chicago." The incorrigible youth had several minor scrapes with the law, but his innate musical talent saw him through. "I'm very fortunate, because I think if it hadn't been for all the older musicians taking up so much time with me, I don't think that I would probably be here today," said Junior. "I'd probably be in the penitentiary, or dead, or whatever you want to say. Because I thought I was a little hoodlum in the first goddamn place! That's what I wanted to be. I had it in my mind to be an FBI man, or either I wanted to be like an Al Capone, a little smart badass, you know.

"When I got to Chicago, I met all the older musicians-blues singers, should I say-and they took up so much time with me. Like Muddy Waters, Big Maceo, Tampa Red, Johnny Jones, Sunnyland Slim, Big Bill Broonzy,the original Sonny Boy-John Lee Williamson-and the late Rice Miller (aka Sonny Boy #2)," he said. "Rice Miller was the thing that set my soul on fire with the harmonica. Because like I say, I thought that I could really do something. But I mean, I didn't know about it until I just actually heard him play. When I heard him play, that let me know right there and then that I was a stone dummy! I didn't know what the hell I was doin'.

"I used to mess around with him and buy him a drink and things like that, for him to teach me. I'd buy him a drink, and he'd show it to me once. And he'd say, 'You got it?' I'd say, 'No!' 'Well, I'm not going to show it to you no more.' I'd say, 'But I bought you the drink!' He'd say, 'I don't care what you bought me. Showed it to you once, I'm not going to show if to you no more!' And he'd take his old knife out of his pocket and lay it on the table, say, 'I got your whiskey, I showed it to you once. I'm not gonna show you no more, and you're not gonna get your whiskey back. And you say anything, I'm gonna cut you. 'Cause you're young, and I'm too old to fight!'

"And after I really learned how to execute a thing, when he saw me, he told me, let me tell you something, Junior. You remember how I used to do you?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'If I had babied you around, and kept on showing you this and showing you that, you never would have learned it in the first place. But by me treating you the way that I did treat you about the things, it made you more determined about learning the thing. And you did it!'"

This boozy blues version of tough love held rambunctious Junior in good stead. In 1950, the teen joined forces with guitar-wielding brothers Louis and Dave Myers to form the Deuces, who soon added drummer Fred Below and changed their handle to the Aces. "Me and the Aces, we go way back as kids. I just met them, I was living at 22nd and Prairie, and they came over to some friends of theirs across the street at a house party. The people that had the house party came over and asked me to come over," Junior said. "So I went over, and they asked me, do I want to sit in and jam with 'em? So we started to jamming, and it came out pretty good. Then after that, we decided maybe we would try to do some things together. We started doing house parties and stuff like that. The first little gig at a club we had, we went in there and did a thing there for three nights. We was making like $12. That's for the whole group!"

For all intents, the Aces swapped harpists with Muddy in 1952. In the wake of his solo smash "Juke," Little Walter had split Waters' band to go on his own, so Muddy replaced him with Junior. The Aces in turn hooked up with Walter, the harp genius embarking on a series of hits for Checker Records. Wells appeared on one September '52 Waters date for Chess, the four songs cut that day including the powerful "Standing Around Crying."

Junior made his own recording debut as a leader in June of '53 for Leonard Allen's States logo, his all-star accompaniment provided by slide guitar great Elmore James, both Myers brothers, pianist Johnny Jones, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Odie Payne. Among the half-dozen titles laid down that day were Wells' debut single "Cut That Out" and the original version of his classic "Hoodoo Man." "That's when I was a kid," said Junior. When he returned to the studio the following April (reportedly while AWOL from the Army), Wells brought along a moonlighting Muddy himself, along with Muddy's pianist Otis Spann, the Myerses, Dixon, and Below to cut four more. "In those days, everybody was trying to help each other do something."

Junior's four States singles didn't do much sales-wise, and it was three-and-a-half years before he got another shot in the studio as a leader. Mississippi-born Mel London had made a bit of a name for himself around Chicago as a songwriter, having penned Chess pianist Willie Mabon's '54 hit "Poison Ivy" and Muddy's "Sugar Sweet" prior to taking the plunge as a label owner by establishing Chief Records in 1957. Among London's initial signings was Elmore James-London wrote "The 12 Year Old Boy" for the slide ace-but it was Junior that ended up the flagship act of Chief and its Profile subsidiary, thanks to the seminal sides on this disc.

In the autumn of '57, Wells entered the studio under London's direction with a tough little rhythm section consisting of Dave Myers and young Syl Johnson on guitars, the ubiquitous Dixon on bass, and drummer Eugene Lounge to wax four songs that comprised his first two singles. London was in search of more than boilerplate blues; the only time Junior whipped out his harp was on the session's lone instrumental. The lyrics of the thundering Willie Dixon-penned "Two Headed Woman" sported a voodoo motif, while its flip "Lovey Dovey Lovey One," one of Mel's originals, was unrepentant rock and roll, Johnson slicing off Chuck Berry-style riffs while Wells whooped it up like a wildman. Wells brought in the only true blues entry, but with its tempo changes, "I Could Cry"-his Chief encore-wasn't standard 12-bar fare either.

It took London until late 1959 to corral Junior back into the studio (the harpist had made an obscure single for Bob Shad's self-named Shad logo in mid-'58). London booked Universal, the city's top recording facility, and handed Wells the lurching "Little By Little (I'm Losing You)," Earl Hooker inserting a glistening gem of a guitar solo midway through (the rest of the band consisted of Dave Myers, Dixon on bass, pianist Lafayette Leake, and Lounge).

"little By Little' is a hell of a tune, to me," said Junior. "It means so much to me, because myself, Mel London, and Willie Dixon was the ones that was doing the singing on it They're backing me up. I thought it was a tremendous thing, because I didn't think it was hittin' on too much when we first started off to doin' it. But we did it and they played it back, because they put me in a booth and I couldn't hear what the hell- I could hear, but I couldn't understand exactly, the way their voices sounded to me with the earphones on was nothing. But after I listened to it when they played it back to me, it was great." "Little By Little" climbed to #23 in Billboard's R&B charts on Profile in June of'60. Its London-penned flip side "Come On In This House" saw Wells pick up his trusty harp for a change on a bone-chilling slow-grinder.

Much the same formula defined Junior's bouncy '60 Profile followup "You Don't Care," but the doomy flip side "Prison Bars Al! Around Me" left a more lasting impression, Spann, Dixon, and Lounge keeping the backing mean on a remake of Junior's '54 States side "So All Alone." "I went AWOL from the service," he said of its creation. '"Prison Bars All Around Me,' I did that one in the stockade at Fort Sheridan." Wells and Hooker teamed for the after-hours instrumental "Calling All Blues," waxed May 5, 1960 with Earl's combo in support. Junior wails on the uppermost regions of his harp while Hooker stings his strings with darting precision (it debuted as the mistakenly credited flip of a leftover Elmore James effort on Chief).

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Наименование трека



   1 I Could Cry         0:02:54  
   2 Two Headed Woman         0:02:41  
   3 Lovey Dovey Lovey One         0:02:12  
   4 Little By Little (I'm Losing You)         0:02:34  
   5 Come On In This House         0:02:22  
   6 Prison Bars All Around Me         0:02:29  
   7 Callin' All Blues (with Earl Hooker)         0:02:34  
   8 Messin' With The Kid     T       0:02:16  
   9 So Tired         0:02:14  
   10 The Things I'd Do For You         0:02:20  
   11 Help Me (Live)         0:10:47  
   12 Look Over Yonder Wall (Live)         0:08:33  
   13 Messin' With The Kid (Live)         0:03:41  
   14 I Can't Help Myself (Live)         0:07:01  


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